Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Katie Quiz

Boys and girls, what scares Katie more than a Muslim?

Two Muslims?

Ah, a logical answer, grasshopper. But not the one that Spotty was looking for. The thing that scares Katie more than a Muslim is premarital sex. Thursday's column was an apologia for abstinence education under the headline: Abstinence study abstained from the larger truth. You see, boys and girls, there is a new study out on the effectiveness of abstinence education in preventing premarital teen-age sex. We'll let Katie describe the results:

What was the drastic finding that discredited abstinence programs, according to critics? The study assessed results from four abstinence-based programs around the country. Kids entered the programs in 1999-2001, at age 11 or 12 on average, and participated for one to several years. In late 2005 or early 2006 they completed a follow-up survey, when they were nearly 17 on average. About half the kids reported remaining abstinent, the same as a control group. Those who had sex did so first at the same age as those in a control group, and had as many sexual partners.

The abstinence education had no measureable effect of any kind on what the kids did. It's unclear whether the parents were soothed by it.

Katie is trying to minimize the study's import by calling its findings "drastic." Calling the finding that abstinence education is literally perfectly worthless in addressing teenage premarital sex when compared to a comprehensive sex education program is only "a drastic finding" if you think that spending tax money on this giant rat hole is a good idea. Katie does:

But anyone who wants to make public policy based on this study should think again. Its sample was small and unrepresentative, says Dr. Gary Rose of the Medical Institute of Austin, Texas, a research organization that supports abstinence education.

Why it only sampled four of the NINE HUNDRED federally-funded abstinence programs out there! We're paying for NINE HUNDRED of these clunkers at the federal level? According to Rose, Katie says, there is "good evidence" that abstinence education works. You apparently just can't see it. At least Katie doesn't share any of the proof with us. Sometimes faith just works that way!

But regardless of the statistics, says Katie, there is a larger truth: the well being of our kids. Which is why, apparently, Katie wants the same number of kids to have sex, only without knowledge about pregnancy or disease prevention. Now there's good public policy for you! Then, we can make sure they don't have access to emergency contraception or abortion services, or the girls to the HPV vaccine!

Parenthetically, Spot will say that Katie, in addition to being the Commissioner of Troubling Signs, is the Commissioner of Larger Truths. If the facts don't support Katie, she just claims that what she wants is due to her access to ineffable, transcendent Truth. Who are you going to believe? Katie the oracle or your lyin' eyes? What hogwash.

Katie also says this:

Our kids are telling us that they're having sex too early. Nearly two-thirds of teens who have had sex regret their early activity and say they wish they had waited, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. Our kids are crying out for socially supported ways to say no.

Here's a page on the "National Campaign's" website that makes it explicit that religion undergirds its efforts. Katie wants us to make public policy based on Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Never mind scientific studies!

Katie, Spot has to say he has known and knows a lot of teenagers. Never has he known even one who was crying out for ways to avoid sex. Spot has counseled some, especially the boys, not to be pushy, to be careful, and that sex is not a good idea for unmarried teenagers. Would it be more effective to say that we'll stone the non-virgin brides on their fathers' doorsteps? Probably not. But that's what Katie wants:

Authentic abstinence curricula take a very different approach [from comprehensive sex education]. They view sex not primarily as a source of pleasure or self-expression but as a deeply significant act with moral, emotional and psychological dimensions. As a result, they focus on teaching students about the differences between love and sex, and encouraging them to view sexuality as part of a lifelong process of developing intimacy that will culminate ideally in a faithful marriage.

Whatever happened to the role of the family in moral development, Katie? Why on this issue do you want the schools to act in loco parentis and not on other issues? (That's Latin, boys and girls, not Spanish, so it doesn't mean crazy parents.)

Katie gave up her usual Muslim rant today because the Minnesota Legislature is considering a bill to require sex education in 7th to 12th grade classrooms. She's just cranking up the, well, cranks. REW at Power Liberal comments on a related aspect of this issue: the Rt. Reverend Steve Sviggum's lament about an initiative to increase support for the godless Planned Parenthood.

Dear Lord, free us from the tyranny of these mossbacks. Amen.

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